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Gaskin - 'Edge Of Madness' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/0e/90/70/3327_gaskinedgeofmadness_1361577068.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 22, 2013    
 
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Shows that the band have lost none of their edge nor critical appeal.

Critically acclaimed by fans but largely overlooked by the media of the day, Gaskin were one of the most under-rated bands of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. With Paul Gaskin covering guitar and vocal duties, Stef Prokopczuk on bass and David John Norman behind the kit, Gaskin produced some truly memorable songs choc full of hooks and melodies, with fluid and sublime guitar work and interesting lyrics. Although a very attractive proposition after just two fine albums they succumbed to the inevitable tide of apathy and drifted apart. Finding his feet once more Paul Gaskin himself recorded ‘Stand Or Fall’ in the Nineties, and with a few gigs here and there a new band started to coalesce as the twentieth century gave way to the twenty-first.

‘Edge Of Madness’ is Gaskin’s fourth full-length studio outing (there’s also a rarities/out-takes album ‘Beyond World’s End’ which came out in 2010) and ably shows that the band have lost none of their edge nor critical appeal. Founder members Gaskin and Norman remain, aided and abetted by guitarist Andrew Soloman and bassist Mick Cross, and from the off it’s worth noting that neither of them are there just to make up the numbers. The band’s performance at the British Steel fest in March 2012 showed how integral to the current band both musicians are, and with the greatest respect to the other players that have come and gone over the years this is the best line-up the band has ever boasted.

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Gaskin himself has lost none of his sharpness when it comes to crafting songs but has kept true to the band’s legacy, and as a result songs like ‘Damnation’ – despite having its own identity and a wonderful Eastern-tinged bridge (and also a pretty neat slide into the faster and pseudo-autobiographical ‘Heart Like Thunder’ and air-guitar classic-to-be) – could easily sit alongside NWOBHM romper ‘I’m No Fool’ on the band’s 1981 debut. Meanwhile, the cloying heaviness of ‘The Contract’, the slow-burning ‘Wake Up Dead’ and the delightful brief instrumental ‘Te Amavi’ all bring elements of light and shade to the assortment.

As ‘Edge Of Madness’ features all three songs from the taster EP ‘The Contract’ which came out earlier in 2012, the wonderful soft-rocking ‘Shot In The Dark’ soundalike ‘Man’s World’ gets a second outing, as can this story about it by Gaskin himself: “Initially the song had a guitar solo on it, but thinking it had a ‘radio friendly’ sound like, say, Foreigner, I thought it might sound good with a sax. I posted on Facebook for any good sax players, and several friends suggested Nik Turner so I contacted him and he was more than happy to help. It wasn’t till after we had it sorted that I discovered he’d played for Hawkwind!” Musicians, eh?

By the way, this was originally conceived as a double vinyl album so there’s plenty of material left in the vaults for more ‘…Madness’ yet. Bring it on!

John Tucker

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